Another appointee tax "mistake"
Get your Super Bowl bets down

'Rangel Rule' would nix penalties and interest on back taxes

So much for a "new" post-election Washington.

When the House approved its stimulus bill last week, not a single Republican voted for it. Over on the Senate side, a measure to provide medical coverage to 7 million children from poor families was approved on a party-line vote.

But such partisan posturing isn't limited to votes. Some members of Congress are getting their political licks in simply by introducing legislation.

Last week, Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) dropped H.R. 735, The Rangel Rule Act of 2009, into the hopper. It which would add a new section to the tax code that would prohibit the IRS from charging penalties and interest on back taxes.

Rangel rule form notation

To get this exemption, all a taxpayer would have to do is write "Rangel Rule" on the first page of his or her tax return.

Dubious honor: Carter named the bill in "honor" of House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY). The man who heads Congress' tax-writing panel last year revealed that he owed around $5,000 in federal back taxes on rental-home income he failed to report. Rangel reportedly paid his back taxes, but not any IRS penalties.

Rangel isn't the only Democrat targeted by Carter. In announcing H.R. 735, Carter also referenced the self-employment tax troubles of new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

"We must show the American people that Congress is following the same law, and the same legal process as we expect them to follow," said Carter in a press release. "That has not been done in the ongoing case against Chairman Rangel, nor in the instance of our new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. If we don't hold our highest elected officials to the same standards as regular working folks, we owe it to our constituents to change those standards so everyone is abiding by the same law. Americans believe in blind justice, which shows no favoritism to the wealthy or powerful."

If Carter had waited a bit longer, he could have dropped Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle's name, too. Daschle recently ponied up more than $100,000 in back taxes in connection with an employer-provided auto benefit.

Good reason, wrong motive: Personally, I think Carter, whose 31st District is just north of my Austin home, is being a bit heavy-handed and a tad disingenuous.

Would he have introduced H.R. 735 (and dubbed it after a colleague) if Republicans were on the tax hot seat right now? I doubt it.

But I do agree with my fellow Texan that the tax laws should be applied, fairly and evenly, to every taxpayer, in Washington, D.C., and beyond.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.